Saturday, 29 January 2011
How to Survive: Old Ginger
Old Ginger is not the name of some fierce, one-eyed feline who scours the neighbourhood looking for a fight.
In How to Survive Old Ginger, I mean ginger, that is old. Normally, when you buy ginger from the supermarket or green grocer's it is fresh, plump and juicy. But, there are times when you have no choice but to buy what's there.
When you come home, you discover that it has gone very stringy inside. This is horrible.
It does not cut properly and when you cook it, you can still taste stringy ginger in your food. This is not good.
If it is not too fibrous and still a bit juicy, then this ginger can be cut along the fibres into very thin strips. These can be used in the cooking. By avoiding any cuts against the grain, the fibres and soften together while cooking.
Also, it can be grated in. The cheese grater does not mind cutting through old ginger and it is easy enough to do it.
But if it is too hard to cope with, then there is another way to use it:
Ginger likes very rich, well-draining soil. It is a native of hot countries, so unless you live in one of these, your ginger will need to be grown indoors.
First though, soak your ginger in a little warm water overnight. This way, it can become ready for growing more easily.
The next day, find the buds and put the root with the buds facing upwards.
Plant this a couple of inches deep into a container full of the rich compost. Keep it well watered and warm in a shady position.
Do you want to end up with a ginger plant? If you look at it again after a week, you will see new rhizomes beginning to sprout out. These can be washed and used as fresh ginger. The rest of the root can be placed back into the container.
Otherwise, leave it alone until it has sprouted and started growing. Keep it dry in the winter time when it is not growing as much.
This is a great way to go from an un-useable fibrous lump of dry ginger into a beautiful, scented plant.